London Underground Case Study

Image: CSIC working with London Underground at Euston Station, London

The project

This demonstration took place at Euston Station, London working with Industry partner London Underground. Railway tunnels are reliable structures with relatively low maintenance requirements but some problems do occur and can be challenging to treat. Ground water seepage is the most common concern in many underground railway systems. This can be a particular issue in older tunnels not built to modern waterproofing standards.  Uncontrolled seepage can result in a variety of condition problems including:

• corrosion of track and structures,

• disruption to signalling and other electrical systems and general

• deterioration of surfaces. If untreated these issues can lead to reliability

• issues and a poor ambiance in public areas

The precise location of seepages can be hard to predict so maintenance to correct specific instances is often reactive innature. This can make effective maintenance planning difficult.

Action and achievements

Seepages have occurred in several areas on the London Underground tunnel network. Signficant maintenance effort is required to prevent these issues affecting the reliability of the service. London Underground has invested in trials of materials and methods to treat these issues. These have established a palate of remedial solutions together with published guidance on the design and implementation of grouting to control individual seepages.

The logical next step is to develop a model to select a treatment approach taking account of what the railway values in different locations. For example the right treatment for a running tunnel may not be same as for a public area where appearance is important. The project will aim to develop a tool to assist in this process by approaching these decisions from the perspective of client values. It is anticipated that this value-based approach may have applicability to both individual decisions and overall strategic planning of maintenance

Impact and benefits

The study will examine what the client values by assessing the specific impacts of water seepage at various points in the tunnels. It will provide London Underground with an effective maintenance policy tool that can maximise the tangible value provided by maintenance within budget constraints and:

• provide a tool which enables London Underground to assess possible maintenance strategies in terms of tangible measures of value to the organisation. These will not be limited to cost concerns but will also incorporate other value drivers such as reliability and ambiance

• improve the ability to make good investment decisions and so achieve maximum value benefits from a given level of investment

• provide an additional tool to help in making the right maintenance and inspection

Visible Management Commitment: The Key to Managing Risk Maintenance Directorate of the London Underground

London Underground’s Maintenance Directorate is responsible for the upkeep and repair of two-thirds of the London Underground network. This includes trains, stations, signalling, track, tunnels, bridges and structures, lifts and escalators and other related infrastructure. Our key priorities are the safe performance of assets and managing day-to-day incidents across the railway. We are also committed to delivering 100 per cent of planned maintenance - on time, within budget and to safety standards whilst ensuring operational performance is delivered with clear and visual controls in place.

To achieve sustainable improvement, it is vital that management drive change by visibly embracing safety as a core value. By espousing such an ethos, the Maintenance Directorate of London Underground was able to reduce its lost time injury rate by 66% over a five year period and ultimately earn the 2009 DuPont Safety Award for visible management commitment.

View the full  Maintenance Directorate of the London Underground case study here >>

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